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Tue, 19 May 2009

Why Mr. Speaker should go

Right up until I listened this morning in my bed to Yesterday In Parliament, I didn't think the Speaker of the House of Commons should go - it would set a bad constitutional precedent. But his use of pettifogging procedural rules to prevent members from debating whether Mr. Speaker should go is the proof needed that Mr. Speaker should go.

My learned friend Mr. Geeklawyer says that while it would set a precedent, it would not be a bad one. I disagree. The constitution that we have, muddled and confusing though it is, has served us well, and should be fiddled with only after the most grave deliberation. There has been no deliberation at all, whether grave or no. There has simply been outcry, and a quick search for a convenient scalp.

But back to why his refusal to permit the debate indicates his unsuitability for his position.

In other arenas, motions of confidence in the Chair take precedence over everything else, for the simple reason that the Chair can use his position to direct all other debates. It is therefore absolutely vital that the Chair have the confidence of all sides. Mr. Martin obviously doesn't, so should *at minimum* permit them to debate whether he should stay.

Mind you, it now seems that he has, belatedly, done what he should have done all along as soon as the motion of no confidence had more than a mere handful of supporters. He has resigned, for which I applaud him. He resigned too late, and his resignation is not with immediate effect, so he only gets a "C, could do better" on his report card, but that's still just about a passing grade.

Of course, we probably won't ever know just how much (or indeed if) his arm was twisted. No doubt he'll be translated to the upper house, which I think would be a very bad idea. There shouldn't be anyone there who only gets a C grade.

Posted at 23:00 by David Cantrell
keywords: politics
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